Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum

Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY

Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker and Russell Dickerson
The Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Wantagh, NY
August 4, 2018
By Mike Perciaccante

After a torrential downpour during the morning, co-headliners Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker along with opening act Russell Dickerson played an electrifying concert at Long Island’s famed Jones Beach Amphitheater on Saturday, August 4th.  Thankfully, by the time that the bands appeared on stage, the rain had stopped and was replaced with clear skies, and as the evening progressed, a starry night.


Dickerson is a new face with a star on the rise.  He appeared first. His extraordinary set was worthy of so much more than that of an opening act. Dickerson’s time on stage was short, but during his time he firmly took hold of the audience and clearly announced that he is a talent to be reckoned with.  During his half-hour slot, Dickerson delivered fantastic versions of “Billion$,” “Every Little Thing” and a stellar version of “MGNO” on which he incorporated snippets of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” The short set closed with “Blue Tacoma” and his #1 single “Yours.” Fans in attendance will, in a short time, be thrilled to tell friends that they “saw him when...”


After a short intermission, as the sun began to set, Rucker hit the stage.  He kicked off his show with “Homegrown Honey” and “Radio.”  Rucker was clearly in a happy mood when he announced, “How you doing tonight, Jones Beach?  The rain is gone.  The party’s on!”  Later in the show he got a big laugh from the audience members in the orchestra when he said, “It smells like a Grateful Dead concert up here.”  Highlights of the early part of his set included: “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “This,” “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” and the Hootie & The Blowfish tunes “Let Her Cry” (which he dedicated to those who had seen him in Hootie’s heyday) and “I Only Wanna Be With You.” 


Rucker stated, “This is one of my favorite places on the planet to play. I’ve been playing here for 25 years!”  The second half of his set featured: “Hands On Me,” the Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ cover “Straight To Hell” (featuring Charles Kelley from Lady Antebellum), “Come Back Song” and the set closer, the audience participation sing-along tune, “Wagon Wheel.”


After another short intermission, Lady Antebellum took the stage and delivered a strong right, left combination of “You Look Good” and “Bartender.”  The fans rose to their feet early and remained there for the entire performance, singing along and dancing the night away.  Lady Antebellum also shined on “Compass” (which included some of Diamond Rio’s “Meet in the Middle”), “Dancin’ Away With My Heart,” “I Run To You,” “We Owned The Night,” “American Honey” and a stellar cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women.”


The encores provided those in the crowd with an opportunity to lose their collective minds. Lady Antebellum returned to the stage along with Rucker and Dickerson. They combined forces to deliver a three song mini concert that sent the audience into a frenzy.  Hootie fans were thrilled to hear “Hold My Hand.”  Dickerson and Lady A’s Hillary Scott shared the vocals on a powerful version of Deanna Carter’s “Strawberry Wine.” The encore set ended with Lady Antebellum’s breakthrough hit from its self-titled 2007 debut album “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore.”


As the fans left the seats located in the lower levels and the others flowed down the staircases from the rafters to the venue by the bay’s lobby area, the lines at merchandise stands were backed up to the entrances to the main gates leading to the orchestra pit and general auditorium. It was obvious that the attendees had a great time and wanted to commemorate the evening. Many fans were seen engaging in retail therap--purchasing numerous logo-emblazoned t-shirts, baseball caps and hoodies. Other fans were buying CDs, vinyl and tour posters. Many of the audience members acquired various tchotchke (like keychains and bumper stickers) as well as other items and products from all three performers.     

Photos by Christine Connallon

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